Below, I'm sharing my journey and flags that made me move on. That said, I'm curious to know...
In one of my latest posts, I shared my 4-year-journey as a developer. I worked in an amazing company called Pipedrive, which gave me an opportunity to grow as an individual and as a professional. That said, even though I was in an ideal environment, I took a decision to join another company. Why? Well, there were many aspects in play that I'll now also be sharing with you.
Before I can tell you about the points that made me leave my first employer, I'd like to talk about the safety net I had, making the final decision so much harder.
- Great people and environment
- One of the things I admired(and still admire) about Pipedrive is it's culture. The people they've hired are super smart and full of can-do attitude.
- Awesome team and company events
- Some of the best memories I have from my professional life are from different team and company events, where you usally get to know your colleagues much better. If you work in a place where your core values align with those of the company, it's intevitable to have colleagues you genuinely enjoy spending time with.
- A clear career path
- A clear career plan, especially for junior devs, is super important, as it can be used to set specific, SMART goals.
- A solid salary
- My salary as a developer was in accordance with the market. As developers usually earn much more than the nationa average, it meant I could have a lifestyle to my own liking, leaving money for investements and other activities I wanted.
- Opportunity to choose my own projects
- In Pipedrive, you could basically do what ever you want to. It just needed to align with the company's goals. The freedom to choose can be both a curse but also an opportunity to go out of one's comfort zone. One day, I could work as a front-end or bacend developer, the other day lead a project, making me focus more on the management skills.
- Super awesome office and all the benefits that come with it
- I had a chance to work in 3 different offices. All of them were great with their own pros and cons. Things like free snacks, drinks, sauna and gym are just few of the things to be mentioned.
- Personal coaching
- That's the one I really miss. In Pipedrive, I had access to professional help through personal coaches. Whenever I felt stuck in my professional or non-professional life, I could go to coaching sessions to get help figuring myself out.
As you can see, this list is quite impressive. Having such a strong supportive, safe environment can be really hard to leave. Nevertheless, there were aspects more powerful signalling me it's time to move on.
Before you consider these flags, I want you to know that in the end it really comes down to your own personal values. In my case, self-growth and the ability to have an impact play a huge role in my efficiency as an employee.
- Loss of motivation to give my best
- When joinin a new company, you'll be in an unknown envirnoment. Most probably, it's challenging and you want to learn and prove yourself. In my case, the first 3 years in Pipedrive served that purpose. I was learning and constantly being challenged. But at some point, I felt that although I took on new initiatives and sought discomfort, I knew the system and environment too well to be fully challenged, resulting in a long-term loss of motivation.
- Looking forward to Fridays
- This one is connected to the first one. I remember that at some point, there were more and more days when I felt I do not enjoy my work. Sometimes I overcame that feeling by taking on bigger initatives or made my tasks more challenging. Sometimes a short vacation helped. Nevertheless, the feeling of looking forward to Fridays in order to build my own projects or freelance stayed.
- Growth becoming slower
- As developers(and well...human beings), we must constantly learn new things. I'm a genuine believer of life-long learning and when I see my growth is slowing down, something must be done. As I had been in a familiar environment for some time, the thought of forcing myself to learn by jumping into a new environment sounded interesting.
- Curiosity to challenge oneself in a new environment
- At some point, I started accepting interviews to other companies in order to test my skills. It didn't take long to become curious about how things are done in other companies, what the processes are and how my experience could help them improve.
- The business domain isn't appealing anymore
- A point I don't believe applies to junior devs as in that phase, one should just care about learning. But there comes a time in a developer's career when you've got the luxury to decide which companies to work for. In Pipedrive, we were working on developing an award-winning CRM tool that was often praised by my friends working in sales. Nevertheless, I felt there are business domains I'm more passionate about. When an opportunity came that connected many of the domains I'm curious about, it was hard to say "no" to the opportunity.
- Change of the company size
- The goal of most companies is to grow, to scale. Company size of 10 is different from that of 600 people. And well, Pipedrive had grown. In the former, there's lots of familiarity. Drinking coffee with the CEO to discuss future business plans is not a rare occasion. In the latter, there will be more processes, communication and fewer people you know face-to-face. That said, there's an opportunity to work on deep problems. Fortunately, I've worked in companies of both size and at some point, when Pipedrive had grown too much, I understood that I'd like to get back to the coffee drinking with the CEO. I'm curious to see how full enterprise companies work though.
- Do you see yourself working for that company in X years?
- Easy and simple. I personally asked myself if I see myself working for the respective company in 5 years. The answer was a clear no as I had plans to at least try out full-time freelancing or creating my own product at some point.
- You've achieved something big
- And the last one. My manager put it nicely- before leaving a company, you should accomplish something big. I guess one's achievements are always up to discussion, but I felt I had helped bring some ideas to life by contributing as a mentor, developer or project lead.
Having a desire to leave a company is never enough. You must also have a plan. In my eyes, you should at least take care of your finances and write down the expectations for the future employer.
Regarding finances, I had been saving money for a long time as I knew that at some point, I want move on. In that context, I believe it's healthy to think in terms of the worst-case-scenario. Make sure to have at least a 6-month-salary saved.
Another thing you should do is clearly define what you're looking for in your future employer. It will help you validate during the interviews that the company you're joining is a good fit. I'll definitely talk about this topic more in the future, but at least clearly define the following points:
- core values
- individual education
Remember, a desire without a proper strategy isn't enough. By analysing your expectations and covering your financial situation, you'll reduce most of the potential risks when switching a job.
Leaving a company is hard if you like the environment you're in. That said, I urge you to be alert of becoming comfortable. The points mentioned above hopefully help you understand when it's time to move on. But before you do, make sure to have a solid plan.